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Located in the rolling foot hills of the Appalachian Mountains in Northern Alabama is a county whose people and progressive communities are a true reflection of Southern Splendor. Limestone County and the City of Athens, resting on the northern bank of the mighty Tennessee River and stretching to the southern border of the State of Tennessee, serves as a hub for all business and leisure time activities within the region.
Beginning when the crisp, blue skies of spring merge into warm summer nights and continuing on until the colors of autumn burst forth before the winter holidays, the traditions, friendliness and beauty of the South are evident year round throughout Athens and Limestone County.
History began here when the Chickasaw Nation, whose people were noted for their bravery and independence, first claimed the fertile soil and abundant water supplies of the area as their home. A direct link to America's pioneer days is evident in Mooresville, a picturesque community older than the State of Alabama. The turbulent years of Civil War found both Union and Confederate forces criss-crossing the region. Today, history is still being made, for out of the region's cotton fields a business community has grown that is utilizing advanced technologies for industries and helping launch America's exploration of space.
With an abundance of local and nearby travel destinations, special events, recreation facilities and rich historical sites to choose from, a visit to Athens and Limestone County will be long remembered for its Southern Splendor.
The History of Athens and Limestone County
With its rich heritage and abundant resources, Limestone County offers an enriching present and promise for the future. The Robert Beaty home, the Vassar-Lovvorn home, the Sanders-Gish servant's quarters, the Old Athens Cemetery. These represent history. And through these historical connections to the past can be found the story of Athens, Alabama. A city with a Southern atmosphere and culture, building on its past, and looking to the future.
The Tennessee Valley held a great attraction for people who migrated here in the early 1800s. Many were part of the entourage of Andrew Jackson who came through the area fighting Indians on his way to New Orleans. And his soldiers were made up of a broad cross-section of America, a group of people who knew the land and what land was capable of producing. The rich soil of what became Limestone County called them back after the war, some receiving grants from Jackson for their service to their country.
But the first white settlement came in 1807 before the influx of soldiers fresh from battle. In 1806, the United States has purchased the territory from the Cherokee Indians and put out a call for settlers. Beaty and John Corriel heard that call and obtained the first land grant of 160 acres from the land office at Huntsville. They packed up family and livestock and built their first homes. Alabama at the time was part of the Mississippi Territory.
As Beaty and Corriel flourished, they wanted to see Athens grow. They offered $8,000, then a princely sum, and all the land necessary to build a courthouse if the people would choose Athens as the county seat of Limestone County. When the time came for the vote in 1819, it was only by a narrow margin that people accepted their offer by voting to make Athens the county seat. The first courthouse was built of logs and stood only five years before being replaced in 1825 by one of brick. Since that time there has been several new courthouses built as the area grew and the needs for space changed. The current courthouse was completed shortly after World War I.
Today the city of Athens and Limestone County hold another important position because of history. They are in a central location in the heart of the industrial area made great by the availability of inexpensive power that came when the Tennessee Valley Association built America's largest hydroelectric power generating system in the 1930s. It was on March 22, 1934, some 115 years after the county seat was approved, that voters were again called to the polls. This time they approved what may have been the most important vote of this century - a vote for TVA. History shows there was only one negative ballot, and that was cast by a person who thought he was voting against a privately-owned power station.
Athens and Limestone County Government
The City of Athens is governed by a Mayor-Council form of government. The Mayor is elected from the city at large to a four-year term. The five Council members are elected to four-year terms from voting districts in which they must reside. Offices for the Mayor and most Department Heads are located in the Municipal Building at 200 West Hobbs Street. The City Council meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month at the Municipal Building at 7:00 p.m. Offices for the Utility Department Heads are located at the warehouse complex at 1600 West Elm Street. The Customer Service Office is located at 508 South Jefferson Street.
The City of Athens has a planning commission to guide the growth and development. The commission is responsible to the mayor and city council. Its plans and programs are guided and implemented by a zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations, minimum housing compliance code, and southern standard building code. Professional assistance is provided by the City Planner and the Regional Council of Governments.
Limestone County and the City of Athens provide a unique and desirable place to live, rear children, work, or retire. The quality of life enjoyed within our community is unmatched. From education to recreation, Athens and Limestone County have a lot to offer. Whether you're moving to the Tennessee Valley area, looking for a place to locate your business, or deciding on a retirement home, our community has something for everyone.
Education in Athens and Limestone County
Limestone County is a community where education is a priority, where thinking is nurtured, and where partnership's are productive. The children of a community represent its future, providing an environment that is best for learning for all ages of children has long been the goal of educators in Athens and Limestone County. Approximately 10,186 students attend classes in the eight fully accredited schools in the City of Athens and Limestone County School Systems.
In addition to the latest in computer equipment, our school systems pride themselves in presenting education programs that foster not only the skills of the academically gifted, but reaches for the best from students who have special learning needs. From college preparatory to technical training, both city and county schools offer choices for students whose paths will take different courses when they graduate.
City schools rank 10th in state on SAT tests and fourth on ACT tests. All teachers are professionally certified and schools currently are accredited by the State of Alabama and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Athens City School System has four elementary schools with 79 teachers and 1,382 students, one Intermediate/middle school with 716 students and 33 teachers; one high school with 781 students and 35 teachers; one vocational technical school with 525 students and 17 teachers, one private/parochial school with 324 students and 27 teachers. The average number of high school graduates is 552.
The nearest post-secondary education school is John C. Calhoun Community College with an enrollment of 7,743. Athens State University, a two-year college, is in Athens with an enrollment of 2,976. The University of Alabama has a campus at Huntsville with an enrollment of 7,531. For those who are seeking an education beyond the secondary level, Athens has an impressive list of opportunities, beginning with John C. Calhoun Community College, a two-year non-residential campus located between Athens and Decatur.
Athens State University can fill the needs of students who want to stay at home and finish their final two years of education. For others, nearby Huntsville offers undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Alabama at Huntsville Campus and Alabama A&M University.Recreation
From fishing and water sports, to hiking and camping, to a quite day in the park, Athens and Limestone County is a place where you can relax and enjoy life!
Golf - Golfers will find five top links in Limestone County, the nine hole private course at Athens Country Club; the championship, semi-private 18-hole Canebrake at Piney Creek course; and the public 9-hole Woodland, 18-hole Chriswood, and the 18-hole Southern Gayles.
Fishing - The Tennessee River in North Alabama offers some of the nation's best largemouth bass fishing along with excellent sports fishing for smallmouth bass, sauger, crappie, bream, spotted bass, stripe, and catfish. The Tennessee River presents a mixture of deep drop-offs and shallow banks, narrow tributaries and wide open spaces, flooded timber and wave washed cliffs. Spring and fall are the two best seasons for anglers hunting the lunker.
Athens Sportsplex - The Athens Sportsplex is one of the best municipal atheletic facilities in the United States. It has eight baseball fields and five soccer fields designed for various levels of amateur competition as well as the popular Kid's Dugout playground complex.
Lucy's Branch Resort and Marina - Alabama's newest and largest inland marina offers direct access to some of the nations best recreational and bass fishing waters, the 67,100 acre Lake Wheeler. Along with complete wet-slip and dry storage facilities, the Resort offers 40 rustic cabins, a fully developed campground, tennis, miniture golf, swimming pool, picnic areas and hiking.
Swan Creek Park - A break from a busy lifestyle can be had at Swan Creek Park in Athens. Picnic tables and grills are sprinkled throughout this wooded area along with tennis courts, swings, slides, climbing bars and other fitness facilities for the young and young at heart.
Big Springs Park - Site of the original settlement of Athens, Big Spring Park offers a natural spring-fed lake, tennis, playground, pavillion, and picnic area.
Athens and Limestone County is a diverse community, made up of people from throughout the United States, and the world. This diversity is nowhere more fully reflected as in the variety of churches in our community. Our churches are an important and integral part of our community, involved in many service and social activities. From The Salvation Army to Habitat for Humanity, the religious community of Athens and Limestone County work together to make life here better for all our citizens.
What does this bring to mind for you? Luxury living in a planned neighborhood close to the city? Wide open spaces in a scenic rural area? How about an historic home in the heart of town, or a contemporary townhouse? Looking for land to streach out on and raise a garden or a home that will allow you to sell that lawn mower?
Whatever your idea of home is, you're sure to find it in Athens and Limestone County, Alabama. Country club homes close to golf courses. Patio homes low on maintenance, high on luxury. Custom built homes by some of the finest builders in Alabama. Whatever your price range, whatever you tastes, whatever your needs, homes to suit your desires are waiting in Athens and Limestone County.
Where the old meets the new, where history meets the present. From a traditional "fixer-upper" to a new showcase home. The communities, subdivisions and neighborhoods of Athens and Limestone County are waiting to bring you home to.Business in Athens & Limestone County
A thriving local market along with unique advantages and opportunities for continued growth make Limestone County a diversified marketplace.
While big industry is highly recruited and welcomed, the small businessman, from the cottage industry to the one-person store shouldn't be overlooked. Small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration, are the major contributor to jobs in both industrial and rural areas across the country. They are the heart of our area's entrepreneurial efforts. Old-fashioned, service-oriented businesses, are what you'll find at any of Athens and Limestone County's many shopping centers and stand-alone shops, or during a walk through the historic downtown business district. Local businessmen and women who are proud of their profession, their product and their contribution to the community.
This spirit is probably one of the major reasons why Athens and Limestone County are quickly becoming known for the investment opportunities available to business - both large and small alike. Industry began discovering the Athens and Limestone County area in the 1930s, soon after the mighty Tennessee Valley Association cleared land, built power plants, and strung the electric lines that could power the machinery needed by business and industry. At first, it was the promise of cheap power and cheap labor that attracted companies looking for a new place to plant roots. But that mission has changed across the years. Industries today want more, and Athens and Limestone County stand ready to supply their needs. No longer is "cheap" the byword of industrial recruiters. Today's market calls for well educated workers - workers capable of handling complex problems and, increasingly, computer skills.
High on the industrial want list is a high quality of life able to attract and keep workers. That's where cultural events, recreation and other community activities come into play. And that's an area where Athens and Limestone County excels. Athens has responded through the years to meet the increasing challanges of attracting and developing new businesses. The education system in Athens and Limestone County has grown to be one of the most respected in the state, always striving to be flexible enough to meet the needs of today's employers and forward looking enough to prepare for the needs of those who will follow in the future.
Because of past actions, the school systems, including Athens State University and John C. Calhoun Community College, enjoy a strong, growing support system and partnership with the private sector and business and industry. In 1994, the area listed 75 manufacturers with more than 8,055 manufacturing jobs. The labor analysis for 1993 showed the civilian labor force stood at 27,330. Athens and Limestone County are ready to welcome your business home!